Last night some great things happened and some horrible things happened -- all in the same inter-squad, training camp scrimmage for the USA Men's Basketball squad. Let's not focus on the bad here. (There will be a time and place for that, for sure.) For us Utah Jazz fans we have a rooting interest in this squad not just because they are a) America's team, or b) most likely the favorites in this tournament, or even c) filled with talented players at every position. We had an extra incentive to watch last night because of three Jazzmen: current Jazz player Gordon Hayward, and two former players in Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap.
I will go into it more during my on topic post about what we saw, but I felt as though all three were able to put on display what they can bring to the team. And for the most part, all three of them played well.
- Paul Millsap, an All-Star, showed that he's not too far gone from his heritage as a banger and scrapper. Somehow ESPN didn't list him as a bigman for this squad (?), but he was able to keep the ball alive, crash the boards, and play like he used to play back when he was a bench player for the Jazz. For the USA squad they have a bunch of stars. They need someone who is going to be physical and do the dirty work. The main candidates for that appear to be Kenneth Faried and DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins is bigger and has a more 'robust' back to the basket game. Faried has a higher motor right now. But Millsap knows how to be a good player in a small role on a good team. Oh, and he does have shooting range and plays defense still. He had a number of near breakaway steals, that he just missed.
- Kyle Korver is a shooter's shooter. He wasn't always open, but he seemed to always make his jumpshots. Having a guy with that range who is reliable is going to be important. There isn't much else to say about him here. He was doing Kyle Korver things out there.
- Gordon Hayward was all over the court. He was making smart passes, making the pass to the pass that became the assist as well. He was finishing in traffic, and with contact. He got steals, deflections, and blocks. He just didn't make any of his outside shot attempts. They tried him out guarding Millsap, and I guess they are auditioning him as a stretch four in pinches not unlike what they are going to do with Kevin Durant at times during the World Cup. Hayward outplayed Chandler Parsons, and while he did not give me hope that he can be an actual stretch big, he fit in well with the guys and displayed that characteristic "non-ball-hog" style of play that the best USA basketball teams played with. He seems to have good chemistry with a number of the guys and facilitated his teammates scoring easy baskets off of his dimes, in particular a few to DeMar DeRozan and a sweet steal, then oop-assist to Mason Plumlee.
I'm totally cool with all three making the USA 12 man roster, but I'm a homer. Also, it's unlikely that all three make it. Last night was tragic, but there were good things to focus on as well. Derrick Rose looked amazing. Anthony Davis continues his defensive beastmode. Kevin Durant is ridiculous. Damian Lillard made yet another 3/4 court shot. And our three Jazzmen played well for all to see.
America is the land of opportunity, not just the land of the best basketball players. Remember a few months ago when a man with a genetic disorder was made fun of online by thousands of people, but two of them were Shaquille O'Neal and Trey Burke? Well, that guy is suing people now. As per the Aaron Falk piece at the Salt Lake Tribune:
A Michigan man with a rare disorder has filed a lawsuit against Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal and a rapper, accusing them of defamation for mocking a self portrait he posted on the Internet earlier this year.
Jahmel Binion filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Macomb, Mi., according to court documents. The suit seeks more than $25,000 in damages. Burke's father and agent, Benji Burke, declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday, saying that he has not been contacted about the litigation. Attempts to reach Binion's attorney for comment were not immediately successful.
Both men apologized, but I guess being internet famous means you are owed some money. I get made fun of daily online, but I guess that's just me being so easy to make fun of. I am certain that he will get some money. God bless America!
The Jazz guaranteed Ian Clark 's 2nd year of his first NBA contract, earning him a significant raise. He's going to get $816,482 next season being that 3rd PG / 3rd SG. I'm cool with that. As a result, the Jazz have 13 men under contract. In a position-less NBA this means there are six candidates to be a ball handler on the squad: Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Ian Clark, and Rodney Hood.
That's the easy part. So easy I even wrote a post about it a while ago.
The hard part is: do we have any finishers?
Who do you think can finish on this team? Break it down into "Spot up finisher" (e.g. Steve Novak); "Inside Finishers" (e.g. Jeremy Evans); and "All Around Finishers", people who can score in many ways, and do things like that Matt Harpring curl, etc.
I miss finishers like Karl Malone . . .
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This has nothing to do with the Utah Jazz (in specifics) but it's a very interesting NBA quiz posted by Chris Sheridan. It's not really well done in terms of what the web can do, but I really want to know how you all do on it.